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MEXICO: Anticlericalism. Correction
Jorge Luna, Juan Pablo Senosiain Pelaez and others have pointed out that today (July 19, a holiday) is the 128th anniversary of the death of Benito Juárez, not his birthday, which is in March. Of course. I was misled by the word aniversario, which alone means birthday. I can't imagine that Mexicans celebrate his saint's day, Saint Benedict, March 21, which is the birthday of Benito Juárez; This means that his mother did name him after the saint of his day. Juárez owed his educaion to a kindly priest, so it is curious that he became so anticlerical. The process would be an interesting study. I still would like to know if he celebrated his saint's day, and if so in what spirit. Do the non-religious people in Mexico today celebrate their saint's day?
Strangely. in Spanish sambenito is the word for the dress victims of the Inquisition wore. Why Saint Benedict is thus honored I do not know. Certainly the enemies of Benito Juárez would like him to wear a sambenito.
Jorge Loyo-rosales says"The main reason Juárez had to execute Maximilian had more to do with discouraging more foreign interventions in Mexico rather than punish the Church. Very few people (i.e. imperialists) were punished after Maximilian, Mejia and Miramon were executed in Queretaro. According to La Jornada and Reforma newspapers, Zedillo did not avoid the confrontation, he spoke (briefly) to Sanchez Juarez and asked not to hold any prejudice against Mr. Fox. You can read the short dialog in La Jornada:
[I saw the scene on Mexican TV, and Zedillo clearly was unwilling to enter into an argument with Sánchez Juárez]
The education of the elites in Mexico has been in the hands of religious
groups who own private schools and universities. Back in the seventies, a
friend of my father's (a professor of anatomy) had to resign his position
at one of these universities after confronting a medical student, who
insisted that women had one rib less than men, as "stated in the
Bible". The Principal decided to cut the incident short and kindly asked
the Professor to either shut up or resign... "
My comment: This brings up the question of the inerrancy of the Bible, which is more characteristic of Protestant fundamentalists than of Catholics. My question about textbooks concerned rather the treatment of Mexican history, e.g. Juárez. I repeat that I would like more information on that subject.
Ronald Hilton - 7/19/00